Nine-year-old Antonio Smith would have been entering the fourth grade next week, but instead of talking about the first day of school, family and friends are trying to make sense of his killing.
Mourners gathered Saturday for the young boy's funeral at Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church, the Chicago church where Smith was baptized.
“He was just a kid,” said family friend Bridgett Jackson. “You should not have to bury a kid.”
Antonio was found shot multiple times Aug. 20 in a backyard in the South Side Grand Crossing neighborhood.
"He will never graduate eighth grade, go to high school or get married," said neighbor Rebecca Sankey.
Antonio's mother, Brandi Murry, said the boy threw a "temper tantrum" after getting into trouble and walked out of the house by himself Wednesday while his older brother and sister were watching him. She said she rushed home from work and called police to report him missing, and that's when officers arrived and told her what happened to her son.
"I don't even understand it, why anyone would do this," Murry said. "I'm praying for the whole city right now ... not even just for my son and my family, I'm praying for everybody. And I don't even want any other parent to even go through this."
He is the youngest fatal shooting victim in the city this year.
“This is a baby,” said Father Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina Church. “There is something unconscionable that we allow this in this city, in this world.”
Many in the community were shocked and saddened by the shooting.
“What [the shooter] didn’t realize is that they hurt a whole community, a whole family, not just one person” said Bishop Vesta Dixon with Evening Star Baptist Church.
Community leaders are offering a $13,500 reward for information leading to his killer.
The boy's family is pleading with anyone who saw anything to put themselves in their shoes and come forward with any information that could help police.